French President Emmanuel Macron, No Longer Omnipotent, Now Needs Allies , #French #President #Emmanuel #Macron #Longer #Omnipotent #Allies Welcome to O L A S M E D I A TV N E W S, This is what we have for you today:
has cast off the lofty mantle of Jupiter. The French leader, who once compared the country’s presidency to the king of the Roman gods, spent much of his first term impervious to political opposition, issuing directives and inviting limited debate. For his second five-year term, he has chosen a lesser god as his new model for governing.
“Vulcan, with the forge,” Mr. Macron said in a recent TV interview, referring to the god of fire and metalworking, patron of blacksmiths.
Mr. Macron is facing a new political reality. In June, he lost his commanding majority at the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, in a blow to his political agenda. The French leader will now need to negotiate with opposition lawmakers to advance individual bills through a divided legislature.
“Jupiter sent directives like bolts of lightning, Vulcan is a craftsman, who patiently builds new majorities by the sweat of his brow,” said Olivier Rouquan, a research professor at the Paris-based Study and Research Centre for Administrative and Political Sciences.
Mr. Macron was re-elected to the presidency in April by a double-digit margin, and candidates from the party of a newly elected president usually ride his coattails to office. But his margin of victory fell sharply from his first election: Five years of pro-business policies under Mr. Macron, including loosening labor protections and cuts to employment benefits, alienated many voters, particularly on the left.
At the National Assembly in Paris, a new left-wing coalition forms the second-biggest bloc.
Rising energy and food prices, partly fueled by the war in Ukraine, have also taken a political toll on Mr. Macron, who has often faced criticism that he is out of touch with the everyday hardships of working- and middle-class French people.
His provocative style has often angered his opponents. Mr. Macron once told an out-of-work gardener that finding a job would be as easy as crossing the road. He said striking workers at a struggling plant in southwestern France should look for another job instead of messing around, and told a unionist that the best way to afford a suit was to work. More recently, he used a vulgar expression to brush aside scrutiny of his past conduct as economy minister in helping clear the way for ride-hailing app
Uber Technologies Inc.
to keep operating in France.
“Macron’s arrogance is what keeps us united against him,” said Green Party lawmaker Sandrine Rousseau.
The Greens, Socialists, Communists and the far-left party France Unbowed have forged a coalition that now represents the second-biggest bloc in the National Assembly. Together they control 151 seats. Mr. Macron’s party, recently renamed Renaissance, still has the most seats, but not enough to form a majority in the 577-seat assembly. Renaissance and its allies control 250 seats, while
Marine Le Pen’s
far-right National Rally and the center-right party Les Républicains have 89 and 62 seats respectively.
Green Party lawmaker Sandrine Rousseau has accused Emmanuel Macron of arrogance.
bertrand guay/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
On Wednesday, Mr. Macron won an early victory in his efforts to govern without a clear majority as lawmakers approved France’s revised budget for 2022, which allows increased spending to soften the impact of inflation. The National Assembly had already passed on July 22 billions of euros in new measures to help households cope with runaway inflation, including an increase in pensions, a boost to social benefits and a cap on rent increases. The proposed legislation, which the government says is part of a new 20 billion euro package, equivalent to $20.25 billion, aimed at softening the blow of inflation, has moved to the Senate.
Les Républicains lawmakers agreed to back the government after intense negotiations with the cabinet of Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne. Renaissance voted in favor of several amendments defended by conservative lawmakers, including a bigger rebate on fuel, a tax exemption for overtime work and the opportunity for workers to receive money for unused vacation time from their employer.
But Les Républicains lawmakers say their support shouldn’t be taken for granted. On July 23, they voted with the leftist coalition and the far-right in favor of an amendment that increases grants to local authorities against the government’s wishes. A dozen lawmakers from Horizons, a party founded by former Prime Minister
and allied with Renaissance, also backed the amendment, exposing cracks in Mr. Macron’s coalition.
Emmanuel Macron, riding with Guinea-Bissau’s President Umaro Sissoco Embalo, greeted crowds on a visit to the country Thursday.
ludovic marin/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
On Wednesday, lawmakers including Les Républicains also passed an amendment that raises subsidies for households using fuel oil for heating, despite the government’s efforts to block it.
The moves frustrated the government. “I am amazed to see lawmakers, who constantly talk about the restoration of public finances, incur such public expenditure,” French Finance Minister
Bruno Le Maire
The government will continue to face opposition in months to come. One of the next bills on the National Assembly’s table will be Mr. Macron’s plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65. Mr. Macron’s previous push to overhaul the system triggered the longest transport strike in France’s history in December 2019. The government later shelved the plan so it could focus on the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have already led a big battle on pensions, we will fight again against this societal regression,” said Communist lawmaker Pierre Dharréville.
As lawmakers debated at the National Assembly, Mr. Macron was on a three-leg tour of Africa this week, a trip meant to strengthen political ties with the continent and help boost agricultural production in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The best strategy for Mr. Macron to advance his political agenda could be to stay away, given how divisive the French leader has become, and to focus on European and international issues, some analysts say.
“If he wants to give his government a chance, he needs to get out of the way,” said Olivier Costa, a research professor at Paris-based Sciences Po university and France’s National Center for Scientific Research.
Write to Noemie Bisserbe at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8